Another problem with criticism of onscreen violence against women is that there are often just as many male victims. A customary trope in many horror films is noticeably that the film starts with a group of people or series of characters, many of whom die by the end of the film. This trope is most commonly found in the slasher, splatter, or zombie subgenres. The gender balance is usually fairly even, the deaths are typically circumstantial, and the audience sees as many men being killed as women. A problem with being offended with witnessing a woman being killed and not a man, is that it is seeing the woman primarily as her gender. For example, a man is a person being killed, whereas a woman is a woman being killed. The inability to differentiate between a death based on someone’s gender/race/sexuality, rather than because of circumstantial factors, removes the person’s ability to be anything more than that socially designated label. While stories involving gender based stalking/violence do exist, these need to be accurately distinguished, otherwise accusations become invalid.Women as Victims?A concern for many feminist theorists is the genre’s portrayal of women as victims. For anyone who doesn’t watch many horror movies, the vast majority of horror films have female protagonists or at least end up with a single female left after the other characters have been killed off. In film studies, this is called ‘the final girl’ trope. The character is usually being targeted by some kind of evil force (killer/ghost/monster etc), and this entity is virtually always characterized as male. This trope is criticized because it portrays women as victims of male violence and is a major criticism of the genre as a whole. However, this overlooks the fact that statistically women are very frequently victims of male violence. To censor this fact is to tamper with very real statistics. This victimization could even be argued to validate women’s fears as real dangers.Because of this trope, films often culminate in an opposition between the male and female genders. Critics state that women are portrayed as weak. However, one common element is that the ‘final girl’ always wins. Almost all horror films end with a singular person surviving, and with the exception of a small percentage of films with male protagonists, it is virtually always a female character who survives and beats the evil force. This is essentially the main framework of the horror genre. There is a type of ‘evil’ threatening a person who is ‘good’. In the end, the ‘good’ always destroys the ‘evil’. This could be argued to be empowering, as the woman rises up to victory and becomes a survivor rather than a victim.
The definition of a slasher film varies depending on who you ask, but in general, it contains several specific traits that feed into the subgenre's formula.
The KillerEvery slasher has a killer. He's usually male, and his identity is often concealed either by a mask or by creative lighting and camerawork.
The VictimsWhat's a killer without victims? In slashers, the victims tend to be young, attractive and often nude. They're typically high school- or college-aged adolescents who engage in vice-ridden activities: sex, alcohol, drugs, crime, football. Rarely does the killer pick these kids explicitly because of their misdeeds, but there is an unwritten moral code in these films that punishes bad behavior. As nihilistic as they might seem, slasher fans like to know that the people who die somehow "deserve" it.
The HeroineAlthough slashers are often criticized for being misogynistic, they're one of the few film genres that primarily feature strong, independent female leads. The heroine is almost always a peer of the victims, but unlike her cohorts, she's virtuous.
The ViolenceStorylines are basically constructed around giving the killer reason and opportunity to do what he does best: murder and mayhem. The deaths are violent and graphic, and the more originality shown in the methods and tools used, the better.
Slasher films are an inferior sub-genre, and they are definitely misogynistic.